In honor of Black History Month, NATA is highlighting some of our Black leaders at the state, district and national levels and shares insight into their volunteer journeys.
Since her days as a young sports medicine volunteer and college student leader, athletic training volunteerism has been a passion for NATA Ethnic Diversity Advisory Council District Six Rep. and Southwest Athletic Trainers’ Association EDAC Chair Carlitta Moore, EdD, LAT, ATC.
As she began learning new skills during her volunteer experience as a college student at Fayetteville State University, Moore said, the impact athletic training had on many of the athletes’ lives piqued her interest. However, the deciding moment for her happened during a football game against Presbyterian College.
“There was a concussion and hamstring strain within two minutes of each other,” she said. “Although I felt empathy for the players, I experienced a rush in knowing I was expected to be there to assist each player to the best of my ability. In that moment, I knew this was something I could handle and enjoy.”
Having professionally advanced her career in the higher education setting, Moore currently leads change through her involvement with the Arkansas Athletic Trainers’ Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education Professional Program Accreditation Council.
Keep reading to learn more about her impact on the profession.
What was your first volunteer position within the athletic training profession and why did you get involved?
I held my first volunteer position while attending Fayetteville State University as a chancellor’s scholar. As a scholar, you had to complete hours of community service. My original site was student health services. One day, the head athletic trainer contacted the student health department to see if they knew of students who may be interested in assisting them. I had no clue what athletic training was, and had seen it simply as an opportunity to travel home to Charlotte, North Carolina, with the football team. Although not the route most have taken, the more time I spent in the athletic training facility, the more I fell in love with the profession.
Tell us about your current position as the NATA Ethnic Diversity Advisory Committee District Six representative and what you hope to accomplish in this role.
In this role, I plan to continue the great legacy left by Shaketha Pierce, MEd, LAT, ATC. I also aim to develop a continuous opportunity to pour into underserved youth with a yearlong school supply drive. Students are always in need of more supplies, so why only think about them one time a year? We are working with the SWATA Student Leadership Committee to donate supplies to various locations across the district.
How has volunteering helped you grow personally and professionally?
Being able to have the opportunity to volunteer has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people as well as grow personally and professionally. Meeting new people allows a person to have the ability to retain words of wisdom or tricks of the trade you may not have thought of. It also aids in building your network with individuals you may not interact with in your regular, day-to-day life. Volunteering also allows you to participate in making change happen and excel in the profession. I have always looked at ways I can give back to the areas and people who have given to me, and volunteering makes it possible.
Why is representation in leadership important and how does it impact the profession?
As I was matriculating through the profession, there were few diverse individuals whom I had “access” to. While there were trailblazers present, I wasn’t quite sure how to open the lines of communication. Over time, the level of access increased, especially with having EDAC within arm’s reach. The best thing I ever did was attend the EDAC Town Hall. It opened me to a new world within the profession. The ability to have someone whom you share common traits and life experiences with in leadership gives you hope that you, too, can make it to their level. It also allows you the ability to seek guidance and inspiration from someone who can truly understand what you may be feeling. The lack of representation can be defeating, and make one feel as though they have no chance to be in a similar place of leadership.
Why should ATs get involved in leadership and service?
As the profession of athletic training continues to advance, someone has to be willing to assist in some way to help get us to the next level. What better way than to get involved? If you wish to see change, get on a committee. If there is something you are passionate about and you want to see it influence a larger group, get involved. If you want to make a difference, get involved. Take a chance and get out of your comfort zone, as doing so can inspire others to be “greAT.”
What advice do you have for other athletic trainers who want to give back to the profession?
Having the thought to make a difference is good, but taking action is where one can achieve greatness. As you look across the profession, if you find something is missing, or something you would like to see changed, be a part of the process. Everyone has the ability to make a difference and advance in the world, if you are willing to put in the work. Don’t forget to take someone with you, so you can grow and learn together.